[B5JMS] Gore's speech re civil liberty

b5jms at cs.columbia.edu b5jms at cs.columbia.edu
Wed Nov 26 04:28:32 EST 2003

From: Anson Macdonald <anson_macdonald at comcast.net>
Date: Mon, 24 Nov 2003 13:22:48 +0000 (UTC)
Lines: 78

Jms at B5 wrote:

>>Gore's platform included more gun control.  Gun control 
>>violates the Second Amendment, which guarantees the Right to Keep and 
>>Bear Arms, which is indeed a civil liberty.
> Let's be more specific.  What it actually says is:
> "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the
> right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
> First, the rights invoked refer specifically to "a well regulated militia." 
> Anti-gun law advocates tend to omit that part of the sentence out, as you did
> just above.

The folks who wrote the phrase "well-regulated militia" meant that the 
militia would operate smoothly.  It's the justification for the "right 
of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed," not a 
limitation upon it.  Their belief was that a citizenry easily familiar 
with arms would be more easily integrated into organized militias and 
the armed forces.  An armed populace was also considered the best 
deterrent against adventurism by a standing army.  It follows, I 
believe, that an armed populace would also be an good deterrent against 
terrorism.  Even the relatively timid measure of arming pilots could 
well prevent another 9/11, and would most likely *have* prevented 9/11.

> Second, most of what's been advocated is simple gun registration, which dose
> not interfere itself with the ability to keep and bear arms.

No, registration does not interfere with the ability to keep and bear 
arms.  But it does make it frighteningly easy to confiscate those arms 
at a later date, as administrations and goverment policies change from 
one election to the next.  That's why certain rights are enshrined in 
the constitution, to render such rights as impervious as possible to the 
ever-changing whims of the governors and the governed.

> Third, bear in mind that some of the Al Qaeda docs that surfaced during the
> campaign refer to the fact that those working inside the US should purchase
> guns legally, not buy them off the street, because they're so easy to obtain
> here.  The resultant theory is that good gun registration laws could help to
> prevent the use of such guns by, say, terrorists.

How exactly would that work?  An honest gun owner will live at the same 
address for years, fill out change-of-address cards when he moves, has 
credit cards, bank accounts, occupations, etc.  It won't be hard to find 
his gun years after the transaction.  A terrorist, however, will send 
the gun he bought legally somewhere else immediately.  The terrorist 
will also be doing his best to avoid leaving the kind of paper trail an 
honest citizen would.  The gun will change hands numerous times.  The 
serial number will be destroyed ASAP.  The gun will effectively 
disappear.  Registering his gun accomplishes nothing, so the only 
lasting effect of registration is to imperil the populace.

Refusing to sell guns to people with arabic surnames, as discriminatory 
and as un-democratic as that would be, would probably be more effective 
than any gun registration.  But I'm not proposing that, either.

> But the administration is too busy prying into your choice of books at the
> library to look into who's buying weapons that can, oh, I dunno...kill people.

That, we can agree on.  But a democratic administration would be no 
better, just in slightly different ways.  A democrat who whines about 
some civil liberties being eroded while advocating the erosion of other 
civil liberties, as Gore was, is a hypocrite.

In case you're wondering, I'm a Libertarian.  Bush and Gore were equally 
piss-poor choices for president.

From: jmsatb5 at aol.com (Jms at B5)
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2003 12:41:32 +0000 (UTC)
Lines: 41

>The folks who wrote the phrase "well-regulated militia" meant that the 
>militia would operate smoothly.

Sorry, that doesn't parse.  "Running smoothly" is a qualitative judgement, not
an organizational aspect, and the Bill of Rights was written to be very
practical.  The idea that "regulated" meant something different in the 18th
century is one of the sillier things I've heard in a while...that word goes all
the way back to the latin "regulum," and meant then what it means now.

At the time the Bill of Rights was written, there was no telling when we might
be attacked, and we didn't really have the resources for a big standing army. 
So you called on the citizenry...and of course the ironic thing is that calling
on them in this fashion usually meant knowing who had guns and who didn't. 
Which of course is one form of registration.

Also, you have to put this in context.  At the time this was written, the arms
under discussion were single-shot black-powder muskets.  T'weren't much else

I think you should be entitled to have all the single-shot black-powder muskets
your heart desires.  If they could have foreseen Uzis and AK-47s and MAC-10s, I
think they would've worded that a bit differently.

(As to the "bear arms" provision, which means to carry them...we've accepted
that people can't just walk around armed, and to follow this line for a moment
further...do you think that someone should be allowed to own a gun if he's a
convicted felon?  If he's mentally unstable or mentally handicapped?  If he has
Parkinson's and can't fire straight?  Because if the answer to any of those is
"no," then guess what?  You just voted for gun control.)


(jmsatb5 at aol.com)
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